Understanding Mexican Emigration – Can We Shake Our Neighbor’s Not So Invisible Hand?

I wrote this in 2012 about DREAMers. 

The ancient peoples of what is now called Mexico rightly revered the life-giving corn that their many civilizations and great empires were built upon.  The appreciation of this bounty is still part of the cultural and spiritual identity of their present day ancestors.

The United States of America has evolved in to one of the richest and most powerful countries in the world.  The peoples who have lived in Mexico innately recognize how important corn has been to help power the economy of the United States.  Once established this power has naturally sought to keep growing and has leveraged its political influence to protect and promote its own life force.  This success in the political realm in the form of monetary support from the government has led to even greater strength beyond what is necessary for economic survival.

One can follow the natural evolution of this type of power becoming sufficiently manifested in the political realm whereby it eventually is considered to be alive.  This is how we can as a society arrive at a place where we can accept the mass consensual delusion to define as a person a corporate entity.  The concept in our legal jurisprudence of the corporate fiction seems to be expediently overlooked.

This “free-trade” subsidized corn has achieved dominance in our neighbor’s marketplace. It appears we have shown our appreciation of this treasure born in their homeland by dumping artificially cheap corn in to their environment.  Unable to successfully compete against one of the entire ecosystem’s strongest powers in the manipulated marketplace, our neighbor is motivated to seek out a different part of the ecosystem containing better opportunities.

This is the invisible hand of the market in action. This economic reality is consistently ignored in our country when attempting to explain the migration of peoples across territories.  Our neighbors come to this ecosystem striving to inhabit a niche where they can create a viable livelihood.  This means performing the more difficult jobs that our populace is no longer willing to do.  These migrating peoples definitely cross political boundaries, but it is worth considering in the moral analysis that these lines are another convenient fiction that we have created.

We allow our neighbors to absorb our cultural genetic material while they are investing their own sweat equity in our economic success.  Then when our own economy is struggling, we regretfully inform them that they are no longer welcome and that their services will no longer required.  Does not this person whom we forcibly return to a now foreign environment run the risk of being rejected and alienated by their original ecosystem who no longer recognizes them?

So can we get honest with ourselves?  The hand is not invisible – it is right there in front of our faces.

We dumped artificially inexpensive corn on our neighbors.  This sufficiently disrupted their livelihoods that they made an economic decision to emigrate to a land with greater opportunity. After advantageously extracting the value of their labor arbitrage due to their undocumented status, we are more comfortable granting personhood to the corporations that helped create their economic migration in the first place in preference to those emigrants who came here because of it. And then our final politically expedient solution is to return them to their original homeland where their burden is no longer our responsibility.

We have access to guidance from a sacred story of an agricultural market crash and of its effect on migration.  The story is of a people who crossed political, religious and cultural boundaries to obtain food for their livelihood and for people in their homeland.  These people eventually migrated their entire tribe to this new land leaving behind the home they chose to flee as economic refugees.  These spiritual predecessors became assimilated and then exploited and mistreated and eventually rose up out of their oppression. Their liberation and redemption is a story that is continually unfolding today through their spiritual inheritors.

Is not the legacy of this story, which is part of our country’s fabric that we are to take care of the stranger in our strange land and welcome him as our honored guest?  Is not the moral imperative even greater when this neighbor came here through the economic force of our own collective hands?  Do we not have a shared responsibility to allow our neighbors living with us in this land to have access to their full cultural American identity regardless of their political status?  These people who live here and believe in this great country are our neighbors no longer.  They are now part of our family and we should fully admit them in to our nation.  We should work together to prolong their stay permanently, allowing and supporting their full contribution to and participation in this great American dream.


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About Ian Benouis

Ian is a West Point graduate, former US Army officer, Blackhawk helicopter pilot and combat veteran. He is Patient Number One for the Mission Within which treats special operators with PTSD, TBI and addiction using iboga and toad in Mexico. Ian has been helping wounded veterans for over 7 years. Ian has moderated numerous veteran’s panels including the MAPS Psychedelic Science conference in 2018 in Austin and the Bufo Congress in 2019 in Mexico City. He has founded an ONAC church chapter which was later returned to the parent church. He is a founder of a Santo Daime church which is the US chapter of a Brazilian government approved church and has founded a number of other medicine churches in the US with his law partner Greg Lake. Ian participated in Operation Just Cause in the Republic of Panama. This operation was the largest combat operation in US history focused directly on the War on Drugs and was the largest special operations deployment ever conducted. He was a pilot-in-command and his aviation brigade flew more night vision goggle hours than any unit in the military except for the Task Force 160 Special Operations which his unit was ultimately rolled up into when the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord, California military base was shut down. Ian grew up in Hawaii in the 1970’s where cannabis was decriminalized and fully integrated in to the culture. He has been healing himself for over 30 years with sacred plants, a spiritual practice, and being a student and practitioner of ethnobotany. Ian was a pharmaceutical representative for Pfizer after he got out of the Army witnessing firsthand the meteoric rise of the SSRI’s and synthetic opioids in the early 1990’s. He is a casualty of the drug war having been arrested for cannabis while in law school. Ian is an intellectual property attorney who has been working in the corporate world for over 20 years in the primary roles of VP of Sales and Marketing and General Counsel. He is a political activist in the cannabis and natural plant medicine space nationally and locally in Texas. Ian was previously the Chairman of the Board for a public policy foundation in Texas for over seven years. Ian was featured in the Spike Jonze produced episode Stoned Vets on Weediquette the cannabis focused series on Viceland on HBO with a number of other veterans protesting the VA’s policy on medical cannabis and trying to end the veteran suicide epidemic. In 2016 Ian organized a trip for six veterans with PTSD to Peru in May for a 10-day plant diet including ayahuasca and other plant medicines with three Shipibo trained shaman brothers that are third generation plant medicine healers. Ian also took some of the same veterans to Mexico for treatment with iboga and 5-Meo-DMT. This experience was captured on video and was released as a documentary in March 2017 entitled Soldiers of the Vine. He is member of the team supporting the movie From Shock to Awe a feature-length documentary that chronicles the journeys of military veterans as they seek relief from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with the help of ayahuasca, MDMA and cannabis. This movie premiered at the Illuminate Film Festival in Sedona, AZ on June 2, 2018 where it captured the inaugural Mangurama Award for Conscious Documentary Storytelling. Ian Benouis’ Drug War Story as part of Psymposia’s Drug War Stories – Catharsis on the Mall: A Vigil for Healing the Drug War. This was part of the Drug Policy Reform Conference November 20, 2016 in Washington, DC.